By 2040 the UK's wine industry could sell 40m bottles and employ 30,000 people
The amount of full-time employees involved in the English and Welsh wine industries could rise to 30,000 by 2040, from its current figure of 2,100, according to the latest data by WineGB.
The trade body has also predicted that the UK’s wine industry could be selling 40 million bottles by 2040, with a retail value of £1 billion or more.
Wine GB looked at other New World regions around the world to see how they have grown from the time when they were approximately the same size as the current GB industry. As an example Wine GB pointed to Oregon, which it said is “very similar in structure to GB”, with lots of small, family-run operations with very few big players involved.
It said: “In 1992, Oregon had 5,950 acres of planted vines and was producing 5.2 million bottles, compared with the UK’s 6,200 acres and a production of 5.9 million bottles. If we then look 23 years on to 2015, Oregon was selling 37.1 million bottles.”
The data from WineGB, which was collated with the help of Wine Intelligence, was presented at the group’s annual tasting event in London yesterday.
Simon Robinson, WineGB’s chairman, said: “This document is not just about where we are today, but where we might be over the next 10 or 20 years. We have carefully analysed how other New World wine regions have evolved and used direct comparisons with their growth to provide a framework of how this Great British Success Story might expand by 2040.”
The data also showed the wine industry’s importance with regards to employment in the rural economy. The report stated that: “In current arable farming, every 1,000 acres needs approximately one full-time employee. In a vineyard you need one full-time employee for every 25 acres, and that does not include the workers needed in the winery, sales and tourism.
“If the figure of selling 40 million bottles by 2040 would relate to approximately 45,000 acres, then a direct comparison with the current market in California might provide a reference point to assess the number of individuals working in the industry by 2040 – 24,000. Using the earlier comparison with Oregon, in 2016 the State employed 29,738 people in wine-related jobs.”
The report also noted there are approximately 70,000 acres of land in the UK that would be suitable for wine production given current technology.